Government unveils health and safety protocol for tourism sector players
The government has unveiled a raft of guidelines that will be followed by players in the country’s tourism sector.
Tourism and Wildlife Cabinet Secretary, Najib Balala said the “safe travel” health and safety protocol will form part of the tourism sector’s roadmap towards the re-opening and restart of various businesses in the tourism sector.
In April, President Uhuru Kenyatta announced the cessation of movement in and out of Nairobi, Mombasa, Kilifi and Kwale counties as part of a raft of measures aimed at controlling the spread of the COVID-19 in the country.
The four Counties were at the time the counties in which the virus was most prevalent.
The president further banned social gatherings, resulting in the closure of religious sanctuaries, restaurants, bars and other social places.
Three months on, Kenya’s tourism sector has borne the brunt of these measures and recorded 80 billion shillings and counting in revenue losses.
At least 2.5 million jobs have been rendered jobless as a result of the closure of tourist and hotel facilities.
Tourism CS balala conceded that a further lockdown will drive tourism into a state of complete collapse.
“If we extend lockdown to September it will be 70 percent loss and if we extend to December it will be a 78 percent.
It is against this backdrop that the ministry of tourism and wildlife formed a taskforce to formulate protocols to guarantee a safe re-opening of the tourism sector.
“We have the for major protocols which are wash your hands sanitize social distance nad wearing a mask we are assuring travellers that you are travelling into a safe place, for international travellers they will need to have COVID-19 clearance certificate
The protocols have been approved by the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) and the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), with Kenya now being listed among the 80 global destinations certified and authorized to use the “world travel and tourism council safe travel stamp”.
“We want to tell everyone that you can travel and be assured of safe and that kenya is safe.”
However, the government has urged Kenyans to take individual responsibility to keep covid-19 under control.
“We must realise that corona is here and we don’t know when it will go so we can go on with our life, remember if we behave normally it will treat us abnormally.” Said Health CS Mutahi Kagwe.
“Why do you want a policeman to follow you so that you can stay safe? you find 11 grown ups in a van driving out of the Nairobi passing all he roadblocks why do you want a policeman to sit in the cold to tell you not to that.” Said Dr. Fred Matiang’I, CS Interior.
With the launch of safe travel protocols, the government hopes to revive the tourism sector that has been hit hard registering up to 50percent negative impact owing to COVID-19 pandemic.
experts say the earliest that international tourism could either recover is either mid or end of 2021, with no end in sight yet on the COVID-19 pandemic, as the government projects only 200,000 international arrivals to Kenya by the end of this year.